The social and economic cost of sleep disorders

Jared Streatfeild, Jackson Smith, Darren Mansfield, Lynne Pezzullo, David Hillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Study Objectives: To estimate economic cost of common sleep disorders in Australia for 2019-2020. Methods: Costs were estimated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), insomnia, and restless legs syndrome (RLS) using prevalence, financial, and nonfinancial data from national databases. These included: (1) financial costs associated with health care, informal care, productivity losses, non-medical accident costs, deadweight loss from taxation/welfare inefficiencies; and (2) nonfinancial costs associated with loss of well-being. They were expressed in U.S. dollars ($). Results: Estimated overall cost of sleep disorders in Australia in 2019-2020 (population: 25.5 million) was $35.4 billion (OSA $13.1 billion; insomnia $13.3 billion, RLS $9.0 billion). Of this, the financial cost component was $10.0 billion, comprised of: health system costs $0.7 billion; productivity losses $7.7 billion; informal care $0.2 billion; other, mainly non-medical accident costs, $0.4 billion; and deadweight losses $1.0 billion. For moderate to severe OSA syndrome, insomnia unrelated to other conditions and RLS, financial costs represented $16,717, $21,982, and $16,624 per adult with the condition for the year, respectively. The nonfinancial cost was $25.4 billion. Conclusions: The economic costs associated with sleep disorders are substantial. The financial component of $10.0 billion is equivalent to 0.73% of Australian gross domestic product. The nonfinancial cost of $25.4 billion represents 3.2% of total Australian burden of disease for the year. Health system costs of these disorders are low relative to those associated with their consequences, suggesting greater expenditure on detection, treatment and prevention is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberzsab132
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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